Deniliquin Rovers have secured some big names for next Picola District Football League season, adding players with premiership success to their list.
Jerilderie veteran forward Aaron Purcell and Picola United experienced utility Des Morgan headline the Roos’ recruits, with 18-year-old speedster Dave Smith also joining the club.
Purcell, 39, comes from the Demons after 318 senior games for the club, the most in the club’s history and is best known for kicking 222 goals in one season for the Demons in 2013, the fifth most goals in a season in any league.
He also knows how to win a flag, winning nine premierships in his time, with seven at Jerilderie, one for Lavington and one in Bundaberg.
Morgan is a three-time premiership player, winning one in the Murray league with Rumbalara in 2014 and more recently going back-to-back with Picola this year.
Smith will join the club fresh off a season with the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup, with his speed a highlight, running a 20m sprint in less than three seconds consistently.
This year the Roos finished sixth on the ladder, just missing out on finals with seven wins. Rovers non-playing coach Josh Bode believes the Roos can return to finals with the trio joining the club.
‘‘We identified early that we need A-graders to join us if we wanted to chase a flag,’’ he said.
‘‘Aaron (Purcell) will add goal-kicking power and a wealth of experience. He might be 38 but he’ll be massive for us.
‘‘We’re quite excited about Des joining us. He’ll most likely run off a half-back flank and being a family man I’m sure he’ll feel right at home at the Roos.
‘‘I’ve been lucky enough to coach Aaron for a couple of years at Jerilderie and Des for Interleague games, so I’ve already got that connection with them.
‘‘Dave has been a part of the Richmond Tigers Next Generation Academy, so he’s clearly got talent.’’
Purcell spent two years playing under Bode in the last two years of Jerilderie’s historic three-peat Picola league flag wins.
While saying goodbye to the Demons was a tough decision for the decorated forward, he was also quite excited to join the Roos.
‘‘I was planning to retire before Josh (Bode) gave me a call,’’ he said.
‘‘My son (Deagan) lives in Deni so it was a decision based on family.
‘‘It will be a good change for me as well, so hopefully I can play my role for the side.’’
Bode is hopeful of retaining the Rovers’ current senior playing list with only one confirmed out for the club so far.
‘‘Rhys McCulloch will be travelling overseas next year so we’ll be missing him,’’ he said.
‘‘Dave (Smith) will be handy out on the wing with Rhys out.
‘‘I’m still talking to a few blokes, so hopefully we can pick up more big names.’’